Daniel Fischer, talking about exoplanets: who discovered the first one?
SpaceUp Europe in Genk has entered it’s second day. Program started 10.00 o’çlock with lots of coffee, to get awake after the first tiring day. Jan and I slept in a hotel somewhere in the center of Genk, breakfast was excellent. After some general presentations in the auditorium (one about satellite imaging of disasters on earth) everyone seperated into the four rooms, where presentations were given. Jan did one in the Small Descartes room, together with another guy, named Daniel Fischer from Germany (@cosmos4u on twitter). Jan showed us his photo’s he took from the international space station ISS with his telescope. Great pictures with a lot of detail of the modules and solar panels of the ISS. Fischer told us about the discovery of exoplanets. Officially they were discovered in 1995 by Didier Queloz and Michael Mayor of 51 Pegasi b. But seven years earlier two astronomers claimed to have observed a radial shift in the velocity of a star, which was caused by a Jupiterlike exoplanet, which attracted the star a bit by its gravitational influence. Some years later the two astronomers redrew their article and said their claim was wrong. One of them stopped his activities, the other one stayed. But wat happened then? Other instruments confirmed their observations, the signals were real, there WAS a exoplanet around that star! So question is: when there will be a Nobelprize for the discovery of the first exoplanet, who will get this? Interesting, isn’t it?
Jan Brandt and Paoli Nespoli
Then we hurried to the auditorium, because ESA astronaut Paoli Nespoli from Italy had his presentation of his experience in space, loaded with many great pictures. Excellent story, including several warnings about the way we’re dealing with the resources of earth, like to coral riffs in Dubai. Afterwards Jan had a discussion with Nespoli about the (dis)advantages of the Soyuz spacecraft compared to the Space Shuttle. I think he’ll write about that himself later on. After that we had lunch, spinachsoup and sandwiches.